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GMs, Look! Recent Clarifications


Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

6 people marked this as FAQ candidate. Staff response: no reply required. 6 people marked this as a favorite.

A couple of longstanding issues have recently had developer intent revealed, but it was hidden several pages into a lengthy thread that a lot of people probably either stopped reading before resolution or else never bothered trying to follow in the first place.

As such, I decided to bring these clarifications out in the open so people can see them without digging. :)

The first involves the Take 10 mechanic. T10 allows you to pretend you rolled a 10 instead of actually rolling a d20, but you can only do it while you're not threatened or distracted, and never on UMD (or Swim in stormy water). However, the bard's Lore Master ability states he can T10 on Knowledge checks. Does this imply that he can do so even while threatened, or does it imply that other PCs can never T10 on Knowledge checks?

ANSWERED!

James Jacobs wrote:
You can take 10 on knowledge checks, as with all checks. The bard lore master ability lets a bard take 10 at all times, even in the middle of combat.

The second involves Perception, reactive versus active checks, and the Trap Spotter rogue talent. Does encountering traps count as a stimulus to which PCs can make a reactive Perception check? If so, what's Trap Spotter for?

ANSWERED!

James Jacobs wrote:
The trap spotter talent lets a rogue make a perception check to notice ALL traps he comes wihtin range of. Normally, you have to tell the GM that you're looking for traps.

So there you have it!

To summarize:
Any PC can Take 10 on ANY skill (unless otherwise specified in the skill description, as with UMD) if they're not threatened or distracted. Abilities like Lore Master let a PC take 10 at ANY time.

You don't get to notice a trap unless you announce a search (spending the requisite move action) or have the Trap Spotter ability and come within range.

Happy GMing, everyone!

*

That's how I thought it worked. So glad I stopped reading that 400 post thread at page 1. :)

Shadow Lodge ***

So, still no resolution on the Puppy/Silly Hat interaction? Or how "Silly" is okay before it's considered game breaking?

Cheliax *

Mystic Lemur wrote:
So, still no resolution on the Puppy/Silly Hat interaction? Or how "Silly" is okay before it's considered game breaking?

If I can't have my puppy in a silly hat I'm quitting PFS forever, I'll tell you that.


You can't have your puppy and eat it, too, though.

Shadow Lodge **

Is a puppy your one allowable combat pet or ammunition?

Qadira *** Venture-Lieutenant, Australia—Sydney

I thought that the puppy wearing a silly hat was part of the core assumption

Andoran *

While I agree with James' postings, please keep in mind that it has also been posted in these forums that developer posts in the forums are not official.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Captain, Netherlands—Leiden

Howie23 wrote:
While I agree with James' postings, please keep in mind that it has also been posted in these forums that developer posts in the forums are not official.

AFAIK Rulechanges are not official, but rule clarifications are.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

...Who flagged the OP as a FAQ candidate?

Qadira ***

Jiggy wrote:
...Who flagged the OP as a FAQ candidate?

not me... thou I kind of think it's a good idea.

After all, it would be nice to get this in the FAQs, and the questions here are often asked, and thus are FAQ....

(thou perhaps not the use of a puppy as a silly hat...;))

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Jason S wrote:

That's how I thought it worked. So glad I stopped reading that 400 post thread at page 1. :)

I'll take that as a "thank you" for making this thread. And you're quite welcome! :D

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

Howie23 wrote:
While I agree with James' postings, please keep in mind that it has also been posted in these forums that developer posts in the forums are not official.

Everytime I hear this, my head explodes like Dragnmoon's did with regard to the old, and thankfully removed, Play! Play! Play! rules.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Bob Jonquet wrote:
Howie23 wrote:
While I agree with James' postings, please keep in mind that it has also been posted in these forums that developer posts in the forums are not official.
Everytime I hear this, my head explores like Dragnmoon's did with regard to the old, and thankfully removed, Play! Play! Play! rules.

Yeah, the only difference between these rulings and an official FAQ entry is that there's less you can do about it when a d*ck GM decides he wants to run things his own way and ignore how it's supposed to work. Non-d*ck GMs will be willing to accept these clarifications when presented with them (whether by reading them here or being presented with them by a player).

Paizo Employee ** Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.

We can't FAQ every single possible rule. In the case of both of these, nothing is changing, and the rules have always said what James has simply rephrased in a way that makes sense to the people who were confused. If someone doesn't understand how a wizard prepares his spells, we aren't going to FAQ that, and if that means that a GM who doesn't understand the rule as written gets it wrong in a game and frustrates a wizard player, that's just the way it goes.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Mark Moreland wrote:
In the case of both of these, nothing is changing, and the rules have always said what James has simply rephrased in a way that makes sense to the people who were confused.

Indeed. I, for one, don't really think an official FAQ is really necessary.

If a GM is interested in running things the best he can, then once he's aware of a clarification like this (and no one begrudges a GM simply not knowing about it), he'll run it this way just as if it were an official FAQ. Meanwhile, if a GM is insistent on running things differently, he'd find a way to justify it in spite of an official FAQ (like inventing "distractions" if he doesn't want a player to T10). So an "unofficial" clarification is plenty good enough for me, and I imagine the same goes for most of us. :)

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Bob Jonquet wrote:
Everytime I hear this, my head explores like Dragnmoon's did with regard to the old, and thankfully removed, Play! Play! Play! rules.

you have an exploring head?... interesting... ;)

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

Dragnmoon wrote:
you have an exploring head?... interesting... ;)

Hey, its hard to spell with an exploded head :-)

*corrected*

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM

Bob Jonquet wrote:
Dragnmoon wrote:
you have an exploring head?... interesting... ;)

Hey, its hard to spell with an exploded head :-)

*corrected*

That must be why your avatar's hood is empty... :P

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Bob Jonquet wrote:

Hey, its hard to spell with an exploded head :-)

"It's".

;)

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

Jiggy wrote:
"It's"

Spoiler:

EXPLOSIVE RUNES!!!

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Bob Jonquet wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
"It's"
** spoiler omitted **

That's fair. ;)

*

Yup, thanks.

Andoran ***

Jiggy wrote:
...Who flagged the OP as a FAQ candidate?

Me, for one.

I have played with a DM who didn't want to accept the Poison FAQ because I didn't have a printed copy with me.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM

What Callarek describes should not be happening.

Maybe Paizo should institute a "report your GM" web area, where players can do it anonymously and it essentially just gets the local VC or VLs attention to the situation, so that they can be aware of what's happening in the area. I'm aware that this is what should be happening already, but sometimes people are too nervous or afraid to bring such things up in person or without the protection of anonymity.

Andoran ***

WalterGM wrote:

What Callarek describes should not be happening.

Maybe Paizo should institute a "report your GM" web area, where players can do it anonymously and it essentially just gets the local VC or VLs attention to the situation, so that they can be aware of what's happening in the area. I'm aware that this is what should be happening already, but sometimes people are too nervous or afraid to bring such things up in person or without the protection of anonymity.

Ummm. Wouldn't have helped. No VLs yet, at that time; and the GM was the VC. "I am not very rules-heavy." type GM.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Dude. If you sat down at my table and assert a rule interpretation that I don't think is right, and you justify that by referencing a FAQ, damn skippy I'm going to ask to see a copy.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM

Chris Mortika wrote:
Dude. If you sat down at my table and assert a rule interpretation that I don't think is right, and you justify that by referencing a FAQ, damn skippy I'm going to ask to see a copy.

What comprises the core assumption? CRB, Bestiary and Field Guide... and all official FAQ and errata thereof. Right? I could be wrong here.

A FAQ ruling on something that is contained within one of those texts is something all people (players and GMs) should be aware of. As a GM, its nice when players have things that may be a bit hairy on rules printed off for the GM, but as long as they are part of the core assumption the GM has no legal PFS standing to refuse the player if they can't provide it.

At least, that's my interpretation of the core assumption. And since I can't memorize all that crap, I keep my laptop handy to check on such matters. It saves a whopping amount of squabbling from happening.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Chris Mortika wrote:
Dude. If you sat down at my table and assert a rule interpretation that I don't think is right, and you justify that by referencing a FAQ, damn skippy I'm going to ask to see a copy.

I find myself agreeing with Chris. Odd. ;-)

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
WalterGM wrote:
Chris Mortika wrote:
Dude. If you sat down at my table and assert a rule interpretation that I don't think is right, and you justify that by referencing a FAQ, damn skippy I'm going to ask to see a copy.

What comprises the core assumption? CRB, Bestiary and Field Guide... and all official FAQ and errata thereof. Right? I could be wrong here.

A FAQ ruling on something that is contained within one of those texts is something all people (players and GMs) should be aware of. As a GM, its nice when players have things that may be a bit hairy on rules printed off for the GM, but as long as they are part of the core assumption the GM has no legal PFS standing to refuse the player if they can't provide it.

At least, that's my interpretation of the core assumption. And since I can't memorize all that crap, I keep my laptop handy to check on such matters. It saves a whopping amount of squabbling from happening.

If a clarification on the FAQ pertains to your character, you are expected to bring a copy of the relevant sections to any Pathfinder Organized Play game.

Andoran ****

VCs aren't required to know anything about the rules unfortunately. All the VCs I've met are great people but I wouldn't go to them for any sort of help with a rules question.

I warn anyone that seeks advice on these sorts of things to always carry concrete proof defending your position and even then just accept the fact that sometimes you are going to get shot down if you're doing anything not super simple.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

Feral wrote:
VCs aren't required to know anything about the rules unfortunately

Actually we are expected to be familiar with the rules. Of course, that does not mean we are expected to memorize ALL the rules. The ability to know where to look and the willingness to do so without making blanket "from memory" rulings is the hallmark of any good GM, whether you are a VC or not.

Granted a VC should be very familiar with PFS specific rules, especially what's in the Guide, but if you expect us to be some master encyclopedia of rules knowledge, your view of our role is skewed. We should be competent players and GM's, and have a solid familiarity with the game mechanics, but our primary role is with organization of events and the expansion of the player base.


I always felt a VC or VL should know the general rules as well as any other GM, but should know every detail of PFS-specific rules, as that is an area they are expected to adjudicate on.

And yes, what others have said, any errata or FAQ items that have been made official but not yet included in the current printing of the book it references, should be printed out and kept with your character as proof that what you are doing is legal. And while it would be nice, it is not a requirement of a PFS GM to regularly visit the Paizo site and read the official errata, FAQs, blogs, and forums.

Andoran ****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Bob Jonquet wrote:
Actually we are expected to be familiar with the rules. Of course, that does not mean we are expected to memorize ALL the rules. The ability to know where to look and the willingness to do so without making blanket "from memory" rulings is the hallmark of any good GM, whether you are a VC or not.

This is directly contrary to what I was told by the campaign heads. There's no testing or confirmation of any kind done to confirm understanding of the mechanics of PFRPG. I've met and played with four different VCs now from different regions. They all had a very poor grasp of the game's mechanics.

Bob Jonquet wrote:
Granted a VC should be very familiar with PFS specific rules, especially what's in the Guide, but if you expect us to be some master encyclopedia of rules knowledge, your view of our role is skewed. We should be competent players and GM's, and have a solid familiarity with the game mechanics, but our primary role is with organization of events and the expansion of the player base.

Agreed.

Cheliax ****

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I would never expect anyone to know all the rules off-hand; that said I think the mark of a great GM is one who is willing to allow for the possibility that his/her rules interpretations could be wrong. In the case of someone referencing a FAQ, I would definitely be looking it up after the game to see who was correct.

Andoran ****

Mergy wrote:
I would never expect anyone to know all the rules off-hand; that said I think the mark of a great GM is one who is willing to allow for the possibility that his/her rules interpretations could be wrong. In the case of someone referencing a FAQ, I would definitely be looking it up after the game to see who was correct.

Fair enough. Nobody is going to know everything and everyone makes mistakes. That said, getting defensive when a player politely explains how something works is very bad.

In the past year I've had VCs not understand:

The prone condition.
Vital Strike.
See Invisibility.

These aren't corner cases or grey areas...

Qadira ***

I am sure that a majority of Venture officers are good - both as judges and as people I would invite to my home game. Some few are... less then good. As happens in any organization. I'm not sure if this is the thread to be discussing this.

and ... after typing a lot of silly text, ranting one side and the other of this issue, I think it's best if I not post it. And that's all I have to say on the matter.

Andoran ****

Eh, you're probably right.

I should travel more! Stupid California. Why are you so large?

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

Feral wrote:
This is directly contrary to what I was told by the campaign heads

That is odd since it is listed in the job description. All I can refer to is me and my skills. Do I know all the rules, even those in the CRB? Nope. But I am willing to look something up if need be. Now if we are talking about an interpretation of an ambiguous rule, that is something entirely different. I guess all I can do is apologize on behalf of all the Venture Officers if we have not measured up to the standards *you* (read: the community) expect from us. Most of us are trying really hard to provide a fun, fair, organized play experience for everyone.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Feral wrote:
Nobody is going to know everything and everyone makes mistakes.

This may be true for mere mortals.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM

Kyle Baird wrote:
Feral wrote:
Nobody is going to know everything and everyone makes mistakes.
This may be true for mere mortals.

Indeed. While I apologize for forgetting our human tenancies and numerous flaws (mine not withstanding) I feel that GMs should be a cut above what's expected.

*queue patriotic music*

To wear 40 pieces of flare. To always give one hundred and ten percent. PFS is the face of Pathfinder. And the GMs of it are like the ambassadors of tabletop roleplaying games to the curious public.

Those of us lucky enough to have found the magic of gaming should always for greatness whenever we play, so that those newly recruited to the fold remain entranced, and onlookers become players themselves.

/end grandstanding

Andoran ***

Chris Mortika wrote:
Dude. If you sat down at my table and assert a rule interpretation that I don't think is right, and you justify that by referencing a FAQ, damn skippy I'm going to ask to see a copy.

Dude. My PC was NOT the one using poison. It was the GM NPC, and the GM was using the nastiest possible interpretation of the rules, adding to the DC for every poisoned hit, even (or especially) if the PC hit saved against the poison.

It ain't MY responsibility to carry FAQs for the GM of the game, who should be familiar with the abilities of the NPCs he is running.

Heck. I am planning on running The Ruby Phoenix Tournament module on March 10th at our monthly Game Day, and I have spent the last few weeks inputting the NPCs into HeroLab, and printing them out using Armidale's custom output sheet, in order to make sure I have feat, ability & spell descriptions for each NPC with the NPC involved.

If I want to run the game well, I figure I need to at least know and understand anything my NPCs are likely to use.

Then again, this is the same GM who totally misunderstood how a different NPC's special ability worked, in a different scenario, making it much more powerful, and probably contributing significantly to the TPK we had in that module.

Andoran *

Bob Jonquet wrote:
Howie23 wrote:
While I agree with James' postings, please keep in mind that it has also been posted in these forums that developer posts in the forums are not official.
Everytime I hear this, my head explodes like Dragnmoon's did with regard to the old, and thankfully removed, Play! Play! Play! rules.

I kinda find it ironic, myself. :)

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Callarek wrote:
Chris Mortika wrote:
Dude. If you sat down at my table and assert a rule interpretation that I don't think is right, and you justify that by referencing a FAQ, damn skippy I'm going to ask to see a copy.

Dude. My PC was NOT the one using poison. It was the GM NPC, and the GM was using the nastiest possible interpretation of the rules, adding to the DC for every poisoned hit, even (or especially) if the PC hit saved against the poison.

It ain't MY responsibility to carry FAQs for the GM of the game, who should be familiar with the abilities of the NPCs he is running.

Heck. I am planning on running The Ruby Phoenix Tournament module on March 10th at our monthly Game Day, and I have spent the last few weeks inputting the NPCs into HeroLab, and printing them out using Armidale's custom output sheet, in order to make sure I have feat, ability & spell descriptions for each NPC with the NPC involved.

If I want to run the game well, I figure I need to at least know and understand anything my NPCs are likely to use.

Then again, this is the same GM who totally misunderstood how a different NPC's special ability worked, in a different scenario, making it much more powerful, and probably contributing significantly to the TPK we had in that module.

This guy sounds dangerous.

Qadira ***

Callarek wrote:
Chris Mortika wrote:
Dude. If you sat down at my table and assert a rule interpretation that I don't think is right, and you justify that by referencing a FAQ, damn skippy I'm going to ask to see a copy.

Dude. My PC was NOT the one using poison. It was the GM NPC, and the GM was using the nastiest possible interpretation of the rules, adding to the DC for every poisoned hit, even (or especially) if the PC hit saved against the poison.

It ain't MY responsibility to carry FAQs for the GM of the game, who should be familiar with the abilities of the NPCs he is running.

Heck. I am planning on running The Ruby Phoenix Tournament module on March 10th at our monthly Game Day, and I have spent the last few weeks inputting the NPCs into HeroLab, and printing them out using Armidale's custom output sheet, in order to make sure I have feat, ability & spell descriptions for each NPC with the NPC involved.

If I want to run the game well, I figure I need to at least know and understand anything my NPCs are likely to use.

Then again, this is the same GM who totally misunderstood how a different NPC's special ability worked, in a different scenario, making it much more powerful, and probably contributing significantly to the TPK we had in that module.

yeah, one of my newbies came back to me with a Judge horror story. He tells the tale of a Judge who did not understand what "1d6 negitive energy damage" means, so the judge hit the PCs for 1d6 negitive levels - with touch attacks, in a tier 3-4 game, from four bad guys. All the players were kind of Newbies, or just not knowledgeable enough to call shananagins on the Judge.

THe way my friend discribes it, there were so many problems with that game ... not the least of which the judge didn't even have the players fill out a tracking sheet.


WalterGM wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
Feral wrote:
Nobody is going to know everything and everyone makes mistakes.
This may be true for mere mortals.

Indeed. While I apologize for forgetting our human tenancies and numerous flaws (mine not withstanding) I feel that GMs should be a cut above what's expected.

*queue patriotic music*

To wear 40 pieces of flare. To always give one hundred and ten percent. PFS is the face of Pathfinder. And the GMs of it are like the ambassadors of tabletop roleplaying games to the curious public.

Those of us lucky enough to have found the magic of gaming should always for greatness whenever we play, so that those newly recruited to the fold remain entranced, and onlookers become players themselves.

/end grandstanding

Yeah, um.. I'm going to need you to come in on Saturday and fill out those TPS reports...

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM

TwoWolves wrote:
WalterGM wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
Feral wrote:
Nobody is going to know everything and everyone makes mistakes.
This may be true for mere mortals.

Indeed. While I apologize for forgetting our human tenancies and numerous flaws (mine not withstanding) I feel that GMs should be a cut above what's expected.

*queue patriotic music*

To wear 40 pieces of flare. To always give one hundred and ten percent. PFS is the face of Pathfinder. And the GMs of it are like the ambassadors of tabletop roleplaying games to the curious public.

Those of us lucky enough to have found the magic of gaming should always for greatness whenever we play, so that those newly recruited to the fold remain entranced, and onlookers become players themselves.

/end grandstanding

Yeah, um.. I'm going to need you to come in on Saturday and fill out those TPS reports...

But I have a date with Jennifer Aniston! :(

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